Monday, 25 January 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #7. The Vulture's back

Amazing Spider-Man #7, the Vulture and Spidey confront each other in the sky above New York City
(Cover from December 1963.)

"The Return Of The Vulture!"


Words by Stan Lee.
Art by Steve Ditko.
Lettering by Artie Simek.


Well, here's an odd one. Only five issues after he last showed up, the Vulture makes his return appearance.

Admittedly, the fact he makes it's mostly down to the New York prison authorities who conveniently let him make use of their equipment to create a new anti-gravity device. Leaving aside the stupidity of those authorities for giving him the means to make his escape, it has to be some prison workshop they have that can be used to make anti-gravity devices.

But then, this is, presumably, the same prison workshop that enabled the Shocker to make his vibro-equipment, so it seems to be better equipped than the average mad scientist's lab.

What's also odd about this tale is it's mostly played for laughs, as though both Steve Ditko and Stan Lee know the Vulture isn't really that heavy-duty a villain (one punch from Spider-Man would take his head clean off) and therefore they'd better concentrate on the "fun" side of the tale.

I still don't have a clue how Spider-Man defeats the Vulture in this story. He shoots some webbing at the Vulture's wings, the Vulture says he can't fly because his wings are webbed and begins to plummet from on high till Spider-Man saves him by attaching a web parachute to him, allowing the feathered fiend to fall gently into the no doubt waiting hands of the authorities.

Why would webbing the Vulture's wings make him plummet? It's already been established that the Vulture flies via an anti-gravity device on his shoulders, and his wings have nothing to do with it. He even manages to fly at the start of the tale without the aid of his wings.

In fact, the most significant thing that happens in this issue is right at the end, when Peter Parker and Betty Brant start to get romantic behind a desk in the Bugle's office. Don't worry, The Amazing Spider-Man hasn't suddenly gone all X-certificate. When I say, "romantic," I mean, "romantic," and it's first time we've seen the smooth-tongued flirtatious side of Peter Parker that'd become especially evident in the John Romita years.

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